• Great articles on other sites
  • RSS Great articles on other sites


  • Renai's other site: Sci-fi + fantasy book news and reviews
  • RSS Renai LeMay

  • Featured, News - Written by on Thursday, October 14, 2010 10:23 - 2 Comments

    Audit details: WA Health’s decade of IT failure

    Western Australia’s Auditor-General has delivered a damning report into decade-long efforts by the state’s health department to replace its ailing patient administration system, finding allocated funds had not been spent and a replacement was unlikely to be implemented until at least 2014 in the city and 2018 in the bush.

    The PAS is an electronic health record system which stores personal information about patients of public health facilities and helps manage care from admission to discharge. All major medical facilities use such a system to coordinate patient care and guarantee clinical outcomes.

    However, a report published by WA acting Auditor-General Glen Clarke yesterday into WA Health’s project to replace its problematic existing PAS — at an estimated cost of $115.4 million — found a myriad of problems.

    “Health’s procurement of a new PAS has not been done well. It has been 10 years since a PAS replacement was first identified as a priority by Health, and six year since Parliament provided the necessary funds, subject to Health first satisfying certain conditions,” the auditor wrote.

    “However, the funds are largely unspent, the State still does not have a PAS replacement and it is unlikely to have one in all metropolitan hospitals until at least 2014 and 2018 in regional areas.” The delay, Clarke said, meant Health’s operations remained “at risk” from inflexible technology and “out of date hardware”.

    There were a range of issues underlying WA Health’s inability to replace the core system. For starters, the auditor found that governance arrangements were “unstable and poorly defined”. The Department had consistently been unable to produce a business case to replace the PAS that Government considered suitable.

    Then too, WA Health’s procurement processes were problematic, involving the use of non-standard clauses in a support and maintenance contract, a failure to test the market before buying a new software licence in 2009, and the fact that Health did not monitor financial progress of the PAS procurement.

    In fact, WA Health does not currently have a formal contract in place for PAS support and maintenance, or for the new licence for its current PAS which it bought in 2009. The audit report does not state who the current supplier of WA Health’s PAS is. Record-keeping about the procurement initiative was also poor, and there was no central register where conflicts of interest could be declared.

    Clarke proposed a variety of measures to remediate the project, including the need for WA Health to work with the state’s Treasury to develop a business case for the implementation that would win Government approval and allow allocated funds to be released. Stable governance arrangements would also need to be put in place.

    In a response, Health said it had moved to address its relationship with the licence owner of the current PAS, and was confident that it would have an initial rollout of the new PAS from mid-2011. It said it had also strengthened the associated ICT project management and governance framework.

    In general, the WA State Government has suffered a number of high profile problems relating to IT projects over the past few years — especially in relation to its extensive shared services projects. The state spends about $800 million on ICT, according to Clarke’s report — representing one dollar in every five of its total annual spend on all goods and services.

    However, Clarke noted there were numerous examples of ICT procurements that had resulted in missed deadlines, budget blowouts and a failure to realise promised benefits.

    “The examples can be found in the private as well as the public sector and across federal and state jurisdictions,” the auditor wrote, noting a landmark 2007 report on WA Government ICT procurement had found that many were not being done well. “Budgets were often exceeded by more than 100 percent, and intended benefits were often delayed or not fully realised,” he wrote, noting that the WA Health example should serve as a warning to other state government agencies.

    Image credits: United States Geological Survey, public domain

    Print Friendly

    2 Comments

    You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

    1. John
      Posted 16/10/2010 at 3:19 pm | Permalink |

      You should really try to understand health a little more before attempting to write articles like this.
      “admission and discard” ???

      • Posted 16/10/2010 at 4:45 pm | Permalink |

        It was a typo, John — and now fixed. I know what discharge is ;)




  • Get our weekly newsletter

    All our stories, just one email a week.

    Email address:


    Follow us on social media






    Use your RSS reader to subscribe to our articles feed or to our comments feed.

  • Enterprise IT stories

    • Govt blows $14.4m on Windows XP, Server 2003 support nadella-1

      The Federal Government has paid Microsoft more than $14.4 million for custom support of the outdated Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 operating systems, in a costly move which further demonstrates the extreme cost of running operating systems which are no longer formally supported by their vendors.

    • [ad] Tatts Group optimises business performance with StruxureWare software schneider

      Tatts Group is one of Australia’s largest lottery and gaming companies, operating the majority of lotteries within Australia, as well as wagering, telephone betting and online transactions. Their online transactions make them one of the highest trafficked sites in the country.

    • Legacy health software lands SA Govt in court doctor

      In which the South Australian Government comes up with complex legal arguments as to why it should be able to continue to use a 1980’s software package.

    • Microsoft wants to win you back with Windows 10 windows-10

      The latest version of Microsoft’s Windows operating system will begin rolling out from Wednesday (July 29). And remarkably, Windows 10 will be offered as a free upgrade to those users who already have Windows 7 and 8.1 installed.

    • Qld Govt Depts have no disaster recovery plan brisvegas2

      Two sizable Queensland Government departments have no central disaster recovery plan, the state’s Auditor-General has found, despite the region’s ongoing struggles with extreme weather conditions that have previously knocked out telecommunications and data centre infrastructure.

    • ASD releases Windows 8 hardening guide windows-8-1

      The Australian Signals Directorate appears to have released a guide to hardening Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system, three years after the software was released for use by corporate customers, and as Microsoft is slated to release its next upgrade, Windows 10.

    • ASG picks up $35m CIMIC IT services deal money

      Perth-headquartered IT services group ASG this week revealed it had picked up a deal worth at least $35 million over five years with CIMIC Group — the massive construction and contracting group previously known as Leighton Holdings.

  • News, Policy + Politics - Aug 4, 2015 16:12 - 25 Comments

    Turnbull revises history on NBN satellite demand

    More In Policy + Politics


    Enterprise IT, News - Aug 3, 2015 16:03 - 5 Comments

    Govt blows $14.4m on Windows XP, Server 2003 support

    More In Enterprise IT


    Industry, News - Aug 4, 2015 16:52 - 1 Comment

    Posse group picks up $5m in funding

    More In Industry


    Consumer Tech, News - Jul 29, 2015 17:14 - 11 Comments

    Telstra integrates Netflix, Stan, Presto into re-badged Roku box

    More In Consumer Tech